Domesday link to proposed nature reserve

DISTRICT council plans to develop a nature reserve and play trail in Honiton have won further backing from the town council.

DISTRICT council plans to develop a nature reserve and play trail in Honiton have won further backing from the town council.Town councillors have already pledged to support thousands of pounds of developers' money being used towards the �30,000 cost of constructing the play trail and, on Monday last week, recommended a planning application to change the use of the land, currently deemed only suitable for agricultural purposes.The site of the nature reserve, in Honiton Bottom Road, is on the urban fringes of the town, Councillor Michael Teare reported.He said the district authority was also proposing a pedestrian crossing in Battishorne Way - to make the area more accessible.One letter, expressing concerns, had been received in relation to the planning application.The letter, said Councillor Teare, stated the land is already a wildlife area and raised questions about the suitability of the site for a proposed pond.The un-named author of the letter also threw doubt on the consultation process.Councillor Sharon Holloway said: "I'd like to congratulate East Devon District Council for putting such a fantastic plan together. I think this is an excellent project and I'm certainly 100 per cent behind it."Former mayor councillor Vernon Whitlock said: "It is an excellent scheme. East Devon District Council has won awards, so they are experts in this sort of thing. The area will benefit from a pedestrian crossing."The history of the site was of particular interest to Councillor Roy Coombs, who believes a water leat, which formerly ran through the site, could date back to Domesday.It could be restored or, at least, its history used as an educational resource, he said.Councillor Coombs expressed concern about the proposed pond and the possibility of trees on the site being destroyed.The plan to change the use of the land to a nature reserve was recommended for approval by Councillor Teare, who said: "I welcome the scheme and note a report from Natural England."I also note the pedestrian crossing will be of benefit, but would not want to see trees affected."We should point out the importance of the history of the site and how that can be built into the educational resource.